Thursday, October 13, 2011

Freda Beder’s Fabulous Fruit Cake

(from Ruth Ketko)

“I always wanted to stay at home and bake cheesecakes”!  So said Mum, but life’s journey took her on different paths. 

My Dad died in 1946, just seven years after they were married, and Mum went from being a “balaboosta” (a Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess) to becoming a successful business woman, opening her own “Finchley Wool Stores”. Her life took her from England to New Zealand, to Israel, then back to New Zealand. A much-loved person, always making sure to have plenty of “nosh” and loads of “wisdom” to dish out.

I don’t remember Mum making many cheesecakes, but she became well-known for her delicious fruit cake. Made for birthdays, bar or bat mitzvahs, weddings, and many other special occasions, as well as making sure to keep one for home, for years she used to make three at a time!

One of my very special memories of this successful fruit cake was when, on one of her last birthdays, at a time when Mum was unable to continue to make fruit cakes, our son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Sue, surprised her with a birthday cake that they had made using her “never-fail” recipe!  We were so proud of them, and the pleasure on Mum’s face said it all!

Here it is – enjoy!

1  lb. mixed fruit                                         1 lb. sultanas
½ lb. butter                                                 ½ lb. sugar
12 oz. flour                                                 1 tbs. Golden Syrup
4 eggs                                                          ½ tap. Baking Soda
¼ cup milk                                                 Nuts as desired

Melt butter and mix with sugar. 
Add 1 egg at a time. 
Add golden syrup, then flour, then fruit and nuts. 
Lastly bring the milk and baking soda to boiling point, then stir it in. 
Bake in a 9" round tin greased and lined with greaseproof paper of 3 thicknesses, and 1" above the tin. 
Place nuts on top. 
Bake in moderate oven 3000 for 3 hours. 
When removed from oven, add brandy.


  1. Funny but this moved me more than the recipes I posted! It brought back so many memories of the many fruit cake slices I ate, and the photo just brought Freda back to me completely - it is so her!